LANCASTER (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been two days since an EF-2 tornado tore through Lancaster—turning rows of neat and tidy homes into piles of exposed lumber, brick, and debris.
Brenda Walker says she knew her home was gone. Still, as she stood at the corner today, staring down the storm ravaged block: “It didn’t even hit me until… I guess it’s hitting me now.”
Her husband rode out the storm in the couple’s bathtub, covered with an ironing board. “Everything is gone,” says Walker. “But, I’m blessed, God is good. My husband was in that house, and he walked out without a scratch.”
On the next street, Levene Norman shares her anguish. “Devastating,” says Norman. “Devastating. I never thought this would happen to me.”
Norman was several miles away when the tornado struck. He returned two hours later to see the home he’d loved for more than 20 years destroyed. He says he never imaged that at this stage of life that he’d greet each day wondering, “what am I gonna do? Where am I gonna go? How do I start over… this is what I’ve spent most of my life trying to build.”
He’s not even sure he wants to rebuild in Lancaster. Norman is critical of city leaders who he says have treated homeowners like criminals for simply wanting access to their damaged homes.
Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight in a press conference Wednesday asked for homeowners’ patience—saying public safety must take priority, adding that the area was still too dangerous for homeowners to be allowed in unescorted.
The streets were reopened late Thursday.
Governor Perry and a group of local elected officials toured the devastation earlier in the day. Norman says he doesn’t have a problem with the visit—but, says a little empathy would have been nice.
“Give ‘em some kind word or something, to say we’re sorry or something. But not just come in here and invite just the media and the police department and then leave! What is that? It’s just like people are not here. It’s totally disrespectful.”